Seattle’s rapid growth these past couple decades owes much thanks to the tech industry, and powerful companies like Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft. It is now the #2 tech city in the country, with San Francisco taking the number one spot. The city that gave birth to grunge in the 1980’s has since been populated by high-rise condos, educated millenials, and coffee shops on every corner.
While it’s known as being one of the rainiest cities in America, Seattle is absolutely beautiful in the summer months. Outdoor lovers will appreciate its close proximity to mountains, and on a clear day, the backdrop of Mt. Rainier against the city skyline is nothing short of magical.
Today I am pleased to be sharing some of the city’s most sustainable establishments. From vegan restaurants, plant-based ice cream, sustainable clothing boutiques, and vintage shops, there’s something for every kind of conscious traveler.
Eat & Drink
Enjoy a cup of coffee or a chai tea surrounded by an eclectic range of global decor in this quirky cafe. It’s far from a “hipster” third-wave coffee shop, so don’t expect avocado toast and heart-shaped steamed almond milk in your latte. But that’s part of what makes this place so special. You can also find a selection of vintage traditional Japanese clothing and ethnic artwork.
This farm-to-table restaurant is one of Seattle’s most beloved places to dine on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free foods. The bar area is made from reclaimed wood, and their indoor atrium dining space is reminiscent of a Japanese zen garden. The restaurant has built strong relationships with Washington farms, and is committed to using local, organic produce to create innovative vegetarian dishes.
This counter-serve restaurant is famous for their “yumm sauce” which is, essentially, vegan crack. You can stay for a quick, casual lunch (I’m gonna be completely honest with you, I’ve never actually eaten there) or you can simply grab a jar of yumm sauce to go (this is what I do) and put it on, uh, everything.
Gluten-free patrons can imbibe freely here, with 20 ciders on tap and a food menu that is highly allergen-free. The restaurant operates a 100% gluten-fee and peanut-free kitchen, and carefully sources from local farms.
This 100% plant based ice creamery serves unique flavors like chocolate-tahini, turmeric, and other seasonal selections.
If you’re looking for something quick and filling in between sightseeing, Homegrown is a sandwich shop with a few locations throughout downtown Seattle. They source from their very own certified organic farm in Woodinville, WA, and are partnered with 1% For The Planet. Their menu includes vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options, like the Za’atar Smashed Chickpea Sandwich.
A popular brunch spot with both locals and visitors, The London Plane’s menu is vegetable-focused with a Mediterranean flair. The space also includes a small specialty grocery store, where you can pick up a bottle of wine, freshly baked sourdough bread, or local jam.
This 100% vegan restaurant has a tiki-inspired vibe, food menu, and drink list. Sip on a mai tai or a pina colada and enjoy tacos, nachos, or buffalo cauliflower wings. They help spread the love for our furry friends by donating a percentage of proceeds to local animal rescues.
One of Seattle’s buzziest dining spots, Oddfellows happens to be committed to minimizing their environmental impact as well as serving as much organic, local, humane, and sustainable foods as possible. Their menu is a modern take on traditional American fare. During the daytime, they serve breakfast dishes like eggs and oatmeal, sandwiches, and hearty salads. At night time the menu includes meat and seafood dishes, vegetarian pastas, and seasonal flatbreads.
The restaurant is designed and furnished with 90% salvaged, recycled, and repurposed materials, and all paper goods, coffee cups, and take-out containers are compostable.
photo by Dorothee Brand
Plant-based comfort food is what you’ll find on the menu at Plum Bistro. They have a variety of burgers, pizzas, salads, and hearty entrees, plus local beers, wines, and specialty cocktails. The atmosphere is intimate and cozy, with exposed brick, wood furnishings, and live greenery. Whether you come for brunch, lunch, or an evening date, you can’t go wrong.
A popular breakfast/ brunch spot with four locations throughout Seattle, Portage Bay uses local, organic ingredients and is friendly to vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners. You can enjoy all the American breakfast dishes you grew up with, like french toast, pancakes, and eggs Benedict, in an unpretentious setting.
Owned by the same company as Plum Bistro, Sugar Plum is your one-stop sweets shop. They have 100% plant-based versions of cakes, cookies, ice cream, and just about any other type of dessert you could dream up.
A self-proclaimed “Earth to Plate” restaurant that focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, and is inspired by Spanish cuisine. Their small tapas-style plates are intended to be shared. Monday night is paella night, featuring paella, Spanish wine flights, and seasonal sangria. Their rooftop is the best place to enjoy dinner and drinks during the warmer summer months.
This upscale lifestyle boutique stocks thoughtful, quality-made goods for children, adults, and the home. Come here to find the cutest little onesies for your tiny human, a timeless addition to your wardrobe, or the perfect housewarming gift.
Calling all plant ladies! I can’t go to Seattle without paying a visit to the iconic Glasswing Shop. They have an impressive display of household plants for sale, plus beautiful handmade pottery to house your green friends. While the front part of the store is dedicated to greenery and plant-related items, the back of the store is stocked with women’s and men’s fashions from local, independent, and environmentally-conscious designers (Mara Hoffman, Ace & Jig, and Kowtow just to name a few), non-toxic beauty and bath products, and other home goods and gifts. This shop is not one to be missed.
Set in a beautifully designed space in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, Moorea Seal showcases handmade and USA-made goods from over 150 designers. Items in store include fashion apparel, jewelry, skincare products, stationary, and more. The company believes strongly in giving back, and is passionate about helping these 5 main causes: Women’s Rights, Children’s Needs, Environmental Issues, Health Issues, and Animal Rights. You can shop by cause on their website, and they also donate 7% of proceeds to various non-profits related to these issues.
This intimate shop in Capitol Hill has a great mix of both old and new. They stock home and fashion goods from local designers, plus vintage and second-hand fashion.
This lifestyle and home goods store takes a lot of inspiration from Japanese and Scandinavian design, with an emphasis on high-quality, timeless pieces. You will find pottery, modern art, books, and luxury pantry items.
photo by Haris Kenjar
Sugar Pill is an herbal apothecary, run by a team of herbalists and wellness professionals. Head here for medicinal herbs and tinctures, natural body products, cocktail and pantry essentials, and other gift items.
Things to Do
From June through September, you can watch the salmon migrate up the fish ladder on their way to freshwater, where they will mate and lay their eggs. Ballard Locks offers free hour-long tours daily, and there is also a visitor center, museum, and botanical garden on site.
Burke Gilman Trail
The Burke Gilman Trail is a 27-mile long recreational trail that’s popular with runners, bikers, and commuters. It runs from Golden Gardens Park, through the University of Washington, up to Kenmore. It’s a great way to get in some endurance exercise or to simply tour various neighborhoods like Ballard and Fremont.
Pike Place Market
No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. Admire the beautiful flower bouquets, snack on fresh, local produce, and browse the dozens of stalls selling handmade items like soap, jewelry, textiles, and more.
photo by @christianwalker
Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
Raise your hand if you love chocolate.
Theo Chocolate is a chocolate brand that you very well may already know of. The company was founded in 2004 by Joe Whinney, with a commitment to fair trade practices and the use of organic cocoa beans. They were the first organic, fair-trade chocolate company in North America, and sustainability continues to be at the forefront of everything they do.
You can take a tour of the chocolate factory any day of the week for $10. If you happen to be in town on the third Thursday of the month, tours are free! They also offer other classes and workshops including chocolate bark making, chocolate ganache making, and chocolate and cheese pairing.
Volunteer Park is a 48 acre park in the heart of Seattle, featuring walking trails, a conservatory, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum (currently closed for renovation, to be reopened in Fall 2019).
Located a little east of Volunteer Park is the sprawling Washington Park, which features 230 acres of walking trails, a Japanese garden, botanical gardens, and an arboretum. It’s a great spot for escaping the buzz of the city. You can work up an appetite exploring the grounds, then have a nice vegetarian meal at nearby Cafe Flora.